By Adetokunbo Abiola
Or September 22, political parties in Osun State will battle it out in a bid to win the governorship elections, a few months after the controversy – plagued Ekiti poll.
Ruling All People Congress (APC) presents Gboyega Oyetola as its governorship candidate, while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presents Ademola Adeleke as its candidate.
According to lots of political watchers, APC and PDP will be in the frontlines to provide the successor to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who has served a checkered two term as governor of Osun State.
Other major players in the polls include Moshood Adeoti, Action Democratic Party (ADP), Senator Iyiola Omisore, Social Democratic Party (SPP) and a few others.
Recently, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) registered 23 new parties, but they will not be allowed to participate in the polls because the deadline for the submission at candidate has elapsed.
There are lots of issues that will define the coming polls, and parties will win depending on how they can successfully negotiate them to woo the long-suffering electorate.
APC will remind voters of the pain they went through when PDP was in the saddle of power in the state.
Party members did exactly this during a maga-rally held in Osogbo, an occasion attended by party bigwigs such as the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, a national leader, Bola Tinubu and others.
“You must not forget the “sufferness” you went through during the reign of Peoples Democratic Party in the state, “Oshiomole told the teeming crowd during the occasion.
APC will also try to debunk the view that Oyetola might not be sufficiently sensitive to the need of the people of Osun because he hasn’t been living in the state.
Also, the news have been going round that Oyetola isn’t even from Osun State, a propaganda that might not work in his favour.
That is why Tinubu, during the mega-rally said living in Lagos doesn’t mean Oyetola isn’t from Osun State.
“We all pray to amass wealth so that we can successfully go back home to better the lives of our people. Oyetola and other people who are called “Ajeles” have done this. They were born in the state before moving to Lagos and just because they made it over there doesn’t mean they’re no longer from Osun,” says Tinubu.
Though he doesn’t face this challenge, Adeleke has to contend with allegations that he forged his certificate.
An Osogbo High Court has cleared Adeleke to contest over the issue, but he has yet to respond to findings by Premium Times that he didn’t graduate from an American university.
Certificate-conscious Osun State people might not vote for him if they think he lied over his educational status
“Politicians are good at fake promises, fake certificates, and fake lives. If Adeleke claims to have been vindicated by the court over his certificate, let him speak on his denial by the American university he claimed to have graduated from too,” Tubosun Ali told Premium Times.
Apart from this, analysts believe Adeleke would have to contend with federal might if he hopes to defeat Oyetola.
They say INEC, the Police, and other security agencies would work against Adeleke.
According to Segun Adewale, who lost the recently concluded Ekiti elections, the PDP won’t be able to match the amount of money the APC-led federal government will pump on election day to woo voters.
Though ADP is confident of dislodging APC from governance in Osun State, political pundits say it lacks the political experience to wrest powers from the ruling government.
Omisore will face the same problem, say watchers of the approaching elections, since he has no hope of mustering the resources to go in a head-on battle with APC.
Of course, ADP and Omisore’s SDP claim that many people have joined their parties, but it is still difficult seeing them shoving aside the battle for the soul of Osun.
One issue that could determine the outcome of the elections is the trend toward vote buying, which all the political parties will face.
The electorate may not vote based on a good manifesto, but on the amount they are given on the election day, Adewale told Vanguard. INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, recognized the issue recently, saying his commission won’t take the issue of vote buying lightly, even though it has been a recurring decimal in the nation’s elections.
“There is difference between democracy – government by the people, made by the people and for the people and plutocrary, which is government by the rich,” said the INEC boss.
Yakubu vows to make a big statement with the upcoming polls, by arresting and prosecuting vote buyers so the trend doesn’t surface during the 2019 elections.
If the electorate decides to ignore Yakubu and encourage vote buyers, then the party with the biggest resources might carry the day.
In that case, APC might have to bow to the whims and caprices of corrupt voters, who don’t care too much about an issue – based election.
Such a scenario might not augur well for the opposition parties, unless they work together to jointly present a candidate on the most accepted and popular political party.
And that is the problem with elections from time immemorial in Nigeria, say experts.
What is important at this moment is for all stake-holders in the election business to work towards the development of Osun State, but politicians and voters won’t allow a higher mission to prevail on election day.
Meanwhile, the political gladiators are talking tough, promising to take Osun to the next level if voted into office.
Adeleke has vowed to revive the economy of the state through multisectoral development, stating that agricultural investment is the best means to address the poverty in the state.
APD party stalwarts are convinced Adeoti is popular and acceptable to all Osun people, Oyetola hopes to bring experiences from Lagos to bear in kickstarting Osun towards development.
Omisore is convinced he is the right man to steer the fortunes of the state.
The people are anxiously waiting for September 22 in order to make their choice among the different candidates